The debate on issues of public disclosure, government transparency and security heated up today when Senator Clayton Hong submitted BS 4589 to the full Senate for an up/down vote (the term “SB” has been replaced by “BS” for “Bill of the Senate”). Hong’s bill calls for increased security at the State Capitol as well as blocking public disclosure of sensitive personal information regarding legislators, their staff or any other state employees.
The discussions were briefly interrupted when Senator Sam Slom was removed by Senate security for attempting to pray.
“Hearings involving certain volatile issues like civil unions have caused us to tighten security around the Capitol,” said Senator Hong. “Also there is a question of personal privacy that needs to be addressed regarding information like salaries and job titles,” Hong continued. There must be a balance between the public’s right to know and the security of government workers.”
“It’s also a matter of equality,” Hong said. No elected official or state worker should be judged on who he or she is, how much tax money they get, how they got there, or what they are supposed to be doing.”
BS 4589, which is expected to easily pass a full vote by the Senate next week and will impact two key areas:
- Public disclosures of names, titles and salaries of all government employees and elected officials will be barred. Any inquiries deemed inappropriate will be treated as class 2 felonies.
- Neutral uniforms will be adopted that shield the face and display no identification of any kind. (you will know they are authorized government employees or elected officials because they will have weapons.)
There was vigorous debate on the style of uniform and type of weapon. The committee was split, but eventually decided to go with the classic TSX 1138 look. It was also decided to adopt the non-lethal, cattle prod-style weapon that matched the outfit.
“After we take the vote on this little ‘housekeeping issue’ we can move on to some procedural matters like suspension of public hearings, dissolution of the media and the proposed 100% income tax,” said one of the Senators (whose name was withheld for security reasons.)